IT HAS been nearly a week since 24-year-old Mita Mondal, who had got married less than six months ago, allegedly committed suicide at her residence in Uluberia. While her relatives claim her husband and his family killed her, the postmortem examination report has stated hanging as the cause of death. The report, however, added that there were marks of bruises and external injuries on Mita’s face.
“We received the postmortem report today, which stated that the cause of death is hanging, which is ante-mortem in nature. A case has already been registered under Section 302 of the IPC… We are investigating”, said Howrah (Rural) SP Sukesh Jain. The expression ante-mortem implies that hanging occurred before the individual died.
This comes on a day when Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered a CID probe into the incident.
Since the death of Mita — a first-class in MA in Bengali from Jadavpur University (JU) — on October 11, the day of Dashami, Mita’s husband Rana Mondal and his father Bijendranath have been arrested and charged with murder and torture by the Howrah Police. His mother Kalpana and brother Rahul are absconding. The relatives have maintained that Mita committed suicide as she was stopped from going out on Durga Puja.
Mita’s parents had last seen her on Saptami (October 8) when she had spent four days with them at their house in Garia’s Shantinagar. Before leaving on Saptami, Mita had asked for Rs 5,000 from her mother. She also asked her father for Rs 1 lakh to help Rana set up a pathological laboratory. Rana, whom Mita had met at a wedding two years ago and got married on April 22 — allegedly against the wishes of her family — worked as a laboratory technician at a private hospital near his house.
It was the same hospital where Mita was taken to on October 11 and died during treatment. Mita’s uncle Ranjit Das said, “We received a call from Rana on October 11. It was 5.30 am… Rana said Mita had attempted suicide last night and was being treated at the hospital where he worked. Within 15 minutes, he called again to say that Mita was no more.”
When the family reached the hospital, they allegedly found no member of Rana’s family there. “Her body was full of bruises… We are sure this wasn’t a suicide. There was blood all over… We want the police to arrest every member of Rana’s family. Severe punishment should be given….” said Ranjit.
Mita’s friends from JU — from where she completed her MA last year — have launched an online campaign, ‘Justice Campaign for Mita’, to get justice for her. When contacted, Shinjini Sarkar, the woman behind the campaign, said: “After completing graduation from Bijoygarh College, Mita joined JU chance to pursue MA in 2013. She was brilliant in studies… Mita had struggled a lot. While her father was a daily wage labourer, her mother used to work as a cook. Since she was in Class VIII, Mita used to take tuitions to finance her own education… She later got a sewing machine and stitched dresses… When I first met her, I realised she was destined to do something.”
“The Internet is powerful. We are using this platform to fight for Mita and other girls who have lost their lives fighting domestic violence. Two online petitions, ‘Justice for Mita’ and ‘Abolish the Domestic Violence’, are going viral,” she added.
Mita’s father Sahadeb Das took loans and spent of Rs 4 lakh on her wedding. “He seemed like a nice guy. As he was in hurry to get married, it did not give us enough time to enquire much about him. Mita never said what she was going through. When we last saw her, she asked for Rs 1 lakh from me but I had no money. She also asked her mother for Rs 5,000… Now, I realise how much pressure was in for her to ask for money from us,” said Sahadeb.
“She never wanted to change her surname but after marriage, she did. It came as a surprise to us. I heard her in-laws have claimed that she committed suicide after a fight over not being allowed to go out for the pujas. This is unacceptable. She was never so demanding,” said Samamwita Das, Mita’s friend.